slip

1 of 5

verb (1)

slipped; slipping

intransitive verb

1
a
: to move with a smooth sliding motion
b
: to move quietly and cautiously : steal
c
2
a(1)
: to escape from memory or consciousness
(2)
: to become uttered through inadvertence
b
: to pass quickly or easily away : become lost
let an opportunity slip
3
: to fall into error or fault : lapse
4
a
: to slide out of place or away from a support or one's grasp
b
: to slide on or down a slippery surface
slip on the stairs
c
: to flow smoothly
5
: to get speedily into or out of clothing
slipped into his coat
6
: to fall off from a standard or accustomed level by degrees : decline
7

transitive verb

1
: to cause to move easily and smoothly : slide
2
a
: to get away from : elude, evade
slipped his pursuers
b
: to free oneself from
the dog slipped its collar
c
: to escape from (one's memory or notice)
their names slip my mind
3
: shed, cast
the snake slipped its skin
4
: to put on (a garment) quickly
usually used with on
slip on a coat
5
a
: to let loose from a restraining leash or grasp
b
: to cause to slip open : release, undo
slip a lock
c
: to let go of
d
: to disengage from (an anchor) instead of hauling
6
a
: to insert, place, or pass quietly or secretly
b
: to give or pay on the sly
7
8
: dislocate
slipped his shoulder
9
: to transfer (a stitch) from one needle to another without working a stitch
10
: to avoid (a punch) by moving the body or head quickly to one side

slip

2 of 5

noun (1)

1
a
: a sloping ramp extending out into the water to serve as a place for landing or repairing ships
b
: a ship's or boat's berth between two piers
2
: the act or an instance of departing secretly or hurriedly
gave his pursuer the slip
3
a
: a mistake in judgment, policy, or procedure
b
: an unintentional and trivial mistake or fault : lapse
a slip of the tongue
4
: a leash so made that it can be quickly slipped
5
a
: the act or an instance of slipping down or out of a place
a slip on the ice
also : a sudden mishap
b
: a movement dislocating parts (as of a rock or soil mass)
also : the result of such movement
c
: a fall from some level or standard : decline
a slip in stock prices
6
a
: an undergarment made in dress length and usually having shoulder straps
also : half-slip
b
: a case into which something is slipped
specifically : pillowcase
7
: a disposition or tendency to slip easily
8
: the action of sideslipping : an instance of sideslipping

slip

3 of 5

noun (2)

1
a
: a small shoot or twig cut for planting or grafting : scion
2
a
: a long narrow strip of material
b
: a small piece of paper
3
: a young and slender person
a slip of a girl
4
: a long seat or narrow pew

slip

4 of 5

verb (2)

slipped; slipping

transitive verb

: to take cuttings from (a plant) : divide into slips
slip a geranium

slip

5 of 5

noun (3)

: a mixture of finely divided clay and water used especially by potters (as for casting or decorating wares or in cementing separately formed parts)
Choose the Right Synonym for slip

error, mistake, blunder, slip, lapse mean a departure from what is true, right, or proper.

error suggests the existence of a standard or guide and a straying from the right course through failure to make effective use of this.

procedural errors

mistake implies misconception or inadvertence and usually expresses less criticism than error.

dialed the wrong number by mistake

blunder regularly imputes stupidity or ignorance as a cause and connotes some degree of blame.

diplomatic blunders

slip stresses inadvertence or accident and applies especially to trivial but embarrassing mistakes.

a slip of the tongue

lapse stresses forgetfulness, weakness, or inattention as a cause.

a lapse in judgment

Examples of slip in a Sentence

Verb (1) the store's quality of service began to slip after the new owners took over be careful not to slip on the spilled oil casually slipped it into the conversation slipped behind the cover of the trees jumped into the car and slipped behind the wheel periodically crabs slip their shells and grow new ones Noun (1) a careless slip of the tongue had a nasty slip on the ice gave her pursuers the slip that's not the sort of slip that a prudent person would have made Noun (2) baskets woven from slips of wicker
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The Hairspray alum rocks a dark and smokey eye while wearing a black silk slip dress. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 6 June 2024 Just place one in the bottom of a vase, securing with a bit of putty if needed, and slip stems into it. Mackenzie Nichols, Better Homes & Gardens, 6 June 2024 One way to do this is to write the decision down on a slip of paper and put it in a sealed envelope. Ben Brubaker, Quanta Magazine, 3 June 2024 Most pieces in their slip category — like this itty-bitty seamless LBD — can be worn as an undergarment, dress, or top. Grace Smith, Peoplemag, 31 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for slip 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'slip.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English slippen, probably going back to Old English *slippan, weak verb cognate with Middle Dutch slippen "to lose one's footing, slip," Middle Low German slippen, Old High German pesliphen, pislipfan "to lose one's footing, stumble," intensive derivative of Germanic *sleipan- "to slide, slip" — more at slipper entry 1

Note: The Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, and Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology take the Middle English verb to be a loan from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German, though it seems equally or more probable that it is a native formation, as was Walter Skeat's view.

Noun (1)

Middle English slype, slipp "sloping landing place for a boat," noun derivative of slippen "to slip entry 1"

Noun (2)

Middle English slyp "edge of a garment," probably borrowed from Middle Dutch sleppe, slippe "loose end of a garment" or Middle Low German slippe, in same sense, of uncertain origin

Note: The earliest sense of this word, "edge of a garment," is first attested in the English-Latin dictionary Promptorium parvulorum (ca. 1440), in the entry "Slyp, or skyrte: Lascinia [for classical lacinia 'border of a garment, edge, hem']." Presumably derived from this meaning is sense 2. The meaning "scion, offspring" (sense 1 and hence sense 3) is first attested in Wynkyn de Worde's printed edition (1495) of the medieval encyclopedia De proprietatis rerum, adapted from John of Trevisa's 14th-century English translation. It is not clear how "scion, offspring" might relate to the other English meanings ("strip of material" > "shoot of a plant"?), or to the presumed Middle Dutch/Middle Low German etyma, which have no comparable sense. -- The word slyp is also attested in the sense "cleft, crack" in late Middle Dutch (the dictionary Teuthonista of Duytschlender of Gert van der Schueren, 1477); it has been suggested that this was the earliest sense, with "cleft in a piece of fabric" leading to the meaning "loose end of a garment." The noun slyp is clearly derived from an earlier verb slippen "to split," which may be a weak derivative *slippōn- (< *slib-no-) of a Germanic strong verb *sleiban- evident in Old English tōslāf "(s/he) split, cleaved," assumed infinitive tōslīfan (see sliver entry 1).

Verb (2)

derivative of slip entry 3

Noun (3)

Middle English slyp, slype, slyppe "mud, slime," going back to Old English slypa, slyppe, slipa (masculine or feminine weak noun) "slime, paste, pulp," going back to Germanic *slupjōn-, zero-grade noun derivative from a Class II strong verb *sleupan- "to creep, glide" (whence Old English slūpan "to slip, glide, move softly," Middle Dutch slūpen "to creep, glide," Old High German sliufan "to slip, creep," Gothic sliupan "to slip (in), enter stealthily"), probably back-formed from an intensive derivative *slupp- (as in Old High German slopfāri "itinerant monk," intslupfen "to slip away, escape") of a hypothetical verbal base *sleub- "slip," perhaps going back to Indo-European *sleu̯bh — more at sleeve

Note: This account of the origin of *sleupan- is based on R. Lühr, Expressivität und Lautgesetz im Germanischen (Heidelberg, 1988), p. 352; her hypothesis is taken up in Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben (2. Auflage, 2001), s.v. *sleu̯bh-. As the author points out, this back-formation would have to extend as far as the ancestor of Gothic to account for the verb in that language.

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

1530, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1640, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of slip was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near slip

Cite this Entry

“Slip.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/slip. Accessed 21 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

slip

1 of 4 verb
slipped; slipping
1
a
: to move easily and smoothly : slide
slip the knife into its sheath
b
: to move or place quietly or sneakily
slipped from the room
c
: to pass without being noticed or used
let the opportunity slip
2
a
: to get away from
slipped his pursuers
b
: to free from : shed
the dog slipped its collar
c
: to escape the attention or memory of
it slipped my mind
d
: to express or become expressed unintentionally
the secret slipped out
e
: to cause to slide open : release
slip a bolt
3
: to let a knitting stitch pass from one needle to another without working a new stitch
4
a
: to slide out of place, away from a support, or from one's grasp
b
: to slide so as to fall or lose balance
slipped on the ice
5
: to cause to slide especially in putting, passing, or inserting easily or quickly
slip into a coat
6
: to fall from some level or standard usually gradually or by degrees

slip

2 of 4 noun
1
a
: a sloping ramp that extends out into the water and serves for landing or repairing ships
b
: a place for a ship between two piers
2
: the act or an instance of departing secretly or hurriedly
3
: a mistake in judgment, selected course of action, or way of doing things : blunder, misstep
4
: the act or an instance of slipping down or out of place
a slip on the ice
also : a sudden mishap
5
a
: an undergarment made in dress length with shoulder straps

slip

3 of 4 noun
1
: a small shoot or twig cut for planting or grafting : cutting
2
a
: a long narrow strip of material
b
: a small piece of paper
a sales slip

slip

4 of 4 noun
: thin wet clay used in pottery for casting, for decoration, or as a cement
Etymology

Verb

Middle English slippen "to move by sliding, to move quietly or unnoticed"; of Germanic origin

Noun

Middle English slippe "a small shoot or twig for planting or grafting"; probably of Germanic origin

Noun

Old English slypa "slime, paste"

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